Grades 9-14 | The Educational & Business Value

education-barbara mckinzieAs technology is pushing the work force forward with new career offerings, higher education is struggling to keep up. This is happening in how students are being trained for these new work fields. In a system still largely focused on lectures and tests, students are completing their studies while remaining unprepared for what lies ahead.

Several surveys administered by the IBM Institute for Business Value revealed some undesirable results. More than half of respondents believe that the higher education system is not structured in a way that appropriately serves students or industries. One of the biggest challenges for recruiters is actually finding applicants from universities that have enough practical experience to take on professional opportunities at corporate companies.

The solution lies in creating a more applied educational approach. The focus should be on teaching students the skills that they will actually use when class ends. Practical learning is what will close the gaps in performance that recruiters speak of in their search for qualified applicants. Here is where it will be most valued for businesses and schools to work together.

An institution that really incorporates the business world into their learning structure is San Jose State University. They have a program that works with IBM to best prepare students for real world business challenges. There is even a mentorship element where current students can work with employees of IBM to guide them through the business processes that carry through product development, marketing, and even HR.

Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools or P-TECH is an example of a new model for education that was formed in 2011 with the help of IBM. It blends technical and computing efforts while providing the opportunity for students to receive their associated degree for free. The model is set up for grades 9-14 and there are no testing requirements for college admission. Students will even have a business mentor. By the end of the program, students are exposed to more career opportunities and position offerings from companies like IBM.

To learn more about new efforts to merge business and academic training to better prepare today’s students, visit HBR here.